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Hurriyat for parallel talks

In a major shift from its demand for tripartite talks to resolve Kashmir issue, Hurriyat Conference Wednesday, June 19, said it was willing to consider simultaneous talks with India and Pakistan.

"It will be triangular talks instead of tripartite talks. The modalities for such a process can be worked out," Hurriyat chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, flanked by six other Hurriyat leaders, said at a crowded press conference in Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital.

"We can talk to India first and then go to Pakistan for a dialogue," Bhat added.

He, however, said that the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved without the involvement of the principal party to the dispute - the Kashmiri people.

Giving details of the outcome of the day-long plenary session of Hurriyat's Executive, General Council and Working Committee yesterday, Bhat said "all the members favoured talks to resolve Kashmir issue peacefully".

"But there [will] be no back door talks. We want to talk and talk transparently with the purpose of de-escalation, negotiation and resolution to Kashmir issue," the Hurriyat chairman said. 

On the parallel "Election Commission" formed by the Hurriyat last February to elect Kashmiri representatives who will talk to India and Pakistan for a final settlement, Bhat said, "I don't know whether it was fortunate or unfortunate but Union Minister for Law Arun Jaitly rejected the proposal on the floor of Parliament".

Renewing the proposal to the Centre, Bhat said "India should pull back its armed and paramilitary forces to the barracks and facilitate Hurriyat leadership's visit to Azad Kashmir to obtain a ceasefire from the Mujahideen leadership. Hopefully, they would listen to us." 

Bhat also said all political prisoners should be released to create a serious political atmosphere for initiation of peace process. Demanding that the ban on public meetings be lifted and restrictions on separatist leaders be removed, he asked the Centre to withdraw "all laws counter to civility" from the state and put an end to human rights violations. 

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